There is something about processions - whether it's a carnival procession, a Rememberence Day procession, the procession of runners at the Great North Run or London Marathon, the victory procession when England has won a world class sporting competition or the procession at an occasion of state.
To watch them on TV, slightly 'arms length', is probably the best many of us can hope for, and while it can certainly be very good, it can never be the same as actually being there. There is an excitement, a frisson an expectation as people line the roadside awaiting the procession. The atmosphere, the buzz, the smells and noises, it all adds up to something special.
I have been fortunate to have been present at most of the types of processions I have mentioned. They have all been great but two stand out for very different reasons. The first was the victory procession by the English rugby team when we won the World Cup - waiting in Trafalgar Square for the team bus was incredible, the atmosphere electric, the hours slid by like minutes, and the noise as even rumours of the impending appearance of the team open top bus - incredible. Needless to say, when it arrived there was total, utter, deafening and glorious commotion...
I was in London on July 7, 2005. 'The London bombings' I had friends on trains that were bombed, and it was a desperate and sad day.
One year later, July 7 2006' I was there for the remembrance procession of those same bombings. Standing near Euston Station awaiting the procession. The atmosphere, hard to describe, the buzz, very different,but certainly real, the noise - there wasn't any!
Tens of thousands of people and you really could have heard a pin drop. There was expectancy as the procession appeared, but still no noise, other than the occasional sound of tears. There was a correct feeling of 'pride' from people who were part of a community that dealt with the atrocity with grace and courage. Two very different and very powerful processions.
There is another procession, a procession of eternal and ultimate importance that, depending upon our personal vantage point can be like either on of those I have described. My question is 'Have you seen this procession come into view'? If you have it will have changed your life, if you have not,yet, you are invited.
The Psalmist said: "Your procession, God, has come into view, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary." (Psalm 68:24)
God and His team have been and continue to process through history, grand and glorious, sombre and serious - have you seen, have you experienced this procession?
Is this the procession you are actually waiting for as you realise that life has got to be about more than you are living at the moment?
God intends this procession to come to a halt as it reaches you and take the time to invite you aboard, to stop being 'just an onlooker' and to become part of the life changing procession that will roll on through history and into eternity. Glorious, expectant, powerful , gracious and loving, poignant and heart healing. Is this the procession you have been waiting for? It is victorious, but not triumphalistic. It is celebratory but not frivolous. It is lasting not simply a 'moment in time'
Have you heard, have you seen, have you joined in?